Getting moving and doing physical activity might be one of your main goals, but how can you do it if you need to stay at home?
As long as a movement is safe for you, you can be active. You can do activities seated, lying down or moving around your home.
Being more active can help improve your mood and increase your energy levels. It can also help you reduce your risk of another stroke. You can read our practical tips on getting active with conditions such as fatigue, incontinence or high blood pressure.
If you have problems with balance, walking or other movements, and you’re not sure what movements are safe for you, it’s a good idea to check with a professional like a therapist first. Always stop if you feel pain.
Getting moving at home
Here are some ideas you can try to build some extra movement into every day.
On a bed
- Roll your knees from side to side.
- Bend and straighten your legs straight out along the bed in front of you.
- Sit up and stretch, with wide arms to open your chest and shoulders.
In a chair
- March your feet. You can do this while watching TV or reading.
- Do a seated indoor gardening activity like planting a seed tray, making a hanging basket or re-potting a plant.
- Sit to stand: start looking straight ahead with feet slightly apart. Stand up slowly, then sit down slowly. Try it in a break between TV programmes.
- Single leg lift: lift one leg, keeping it straight. Lower it slowly. Repeat with the other leg.
- March on the spot. Hold on to the back of a chair for balance if you need to.
- Knee lift: bend your leg, raise the knee up in front of you. Lower it slowly. Repeat on the other leg. Stand next to a chair and hold on to it for balance if you need to. You can also do this seated.
- Wall ‘press-up’: stand a small step away from the wall. Put your hands flat against the wall at shoulder height, and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lean towards the wall, keeping feet flat on the ground. Use your arms to push back gently to standing.
Moving around the house and garden
These activities aim to make your heart beat faster and make you feel warmer. If you do something more energetic or for longer, you might feel a little out of breath but still be able to speak.
You don’t have to carry on for a long time. A ten-minute burst of activity several times a day can have the same benefit as a longer session.
- Try timing yourself doing the vacuuming, and try to beat your time another day. Put some music on while you’re dusting to get you moving around the room.
- If you have a garden, tasks like weeding, digging and planting can build strength, and improve skills using hands and fingers.
- Climbing upstairs is a great way of getting your heart working, as well as strengthening muscles. Try going up and downstairs in your home.
Stroke-specific exercise videos
We’ve teamed up with the charity ‘A Stroke of Luck’, who specialise in exercise-based recovery for stroke survivors, to produce a stroke-specific exercise programme of short videos to help you be more active at home. There are 12 videos in total, and three levels to suit your needs. You can follow them at a pace that suits you, whether that’s week-by-week or day-by-day. Follow the programme and watch the exercise videos on My Stroke Guide.
Find out how Fitzroy benefited from the programme after his in-person rehabilitation was paused during the coronavirus pandemic.
Stretch and mobility exercises to keep you moving at home
Our friends at David Lloyd Leisure have kindly given us access to a selection of videos that you may like to use as part of your exercise regime. They will suit people who are physically able after a stroke, and want to stretch themselves a bit more. Please note the videos have not been produced specifically for stroke survivors and will not be suitable for everyone who has had a stroke.
David Lloyd Clubs are committed to supporting people of all ages to stay active. They have a range of videos by trained fitness instructors to help stroke survivors who are physically able to improve their overall health and wellbeing, and which may be suitable for carers and/or exercise partners.
These videos may be suitable for you if you feel ready to get back into a group exercise activity. But before you do the activities in the videos, make sure you know what movements are safe for you. If you’re not sure, you should get individual advice from a therapist or doctor before starting these activities.
- 10 Today is a set of fun 10-minute, audio and video workouts intended to easily fit into your day to help get you stretching and moving at home.
- The ShapeMasterUK YouTube channel frequently uploads home physical activity routines. Each video varies, with some routines focusing on exercises while sitting down, standing up, or lying down
- WheelPower have launched a series of 30-minute adaptive yoga videos for wheelchair users or those who do physical activity while seated. The aim is to get moving with guidance from a yoga instructor.
- Our online stroke support tool My Stroke Guide also contains more than 200 videos to help you understand stroke, and improve your own wellbeing.
If you enjoy group activities, you may be able to find a live session or video online. Look for keep fit, Zumba, yoga and pilates. These NHS online fitness videos include seated exercises and strength exercises you can do at home.
Motivation and setting goals
Put it in your diary
If you’re planning an activity, put it in your diary. That way it’s already on your mind, and you’re much more likely to do it.
Get family and friends involved
Your family and friends might want to join in. You can share your progress in a phone call or on social media, and give each other support and encouragement to carry on.
Set realistic targets
Make your targets specific and achievable. Doing functional things every day in the house like weeding the garden or cleaning out your cupboards gets you moving and using muscles.
Once you’ve set yourself some goals, try to start slowly. Doing too much too soon can make you more likely to give up, so try to take it one step at a time and stay motivated.
Record what you do. Use a notebook, the goal planner on My Stroke Guide, or an activity tracker linked to a phone or electronic fitness device.
Don’t be put off if you can’t keep going with an activity. You might just need a break, or try something new. Sometimes a chat with a friend can help you find solutions. If you’ve lost motivation, just going back to an activity once can remind you how much you enjoy it and give you the boost you need.
Challenge yourself, but keep things achievable. When you reach a goal, celebrate!
Read more about getting moving after stroke on our website. Please note: this information was created before the coronavirus emerged, and some of the advice doesn’t apply at the moment.